*giggles* Wizard fiction, Nan? Have you got any idea how much I envy that marvellous story-telling ability of yours? And then I don’t mean the story Tonks was reading, of course, but all the lovely details you come up with and include. They really set this story apart from others; it gives it such life.
You probably found my last review sadly lacking in constructive criticism, and I’m afraid this one won’t be any better. But that’s not my fault, really; I’m blaming it on you and your devoted beta reader. So there. ;)
I think it’s wonderful that Tonks is so determined to find out what’s going on with Mavis Rosier. I can see an Auror in her already – and how fitting that she’s reading a mystery novel! Oh yes, that reminds me! I was going to suggest that Tonks’ clumsiness interferes with her spying on someone at some point. It was just something that I came to think of while catching a glimpse of the future Auror Tonks, as she nearly failed the Stealth and Tracking part of her Auror examination.
It bothered her that they had planned to go without asking her ahead of time, and she considered turning them down to prove that she did not need to do everything they did — she was tired of being the tag-a-long. On the other hand, if she refused they would just go without her.
I quoted that part because I want to talk about how well you nurture the feminine sides of Tonks. Not that she was ever described as masculine, but I think that a lot of people see her as bit of a tomboy. But you show us so many aspects of her feelings (like, perhaps not crushing on, but clearly being a bit enthralled by Bill), and the part I quoted is just. So. Girly. Or perhaps it’s in the contrast between how the boys think and how she thinks. Kevin and Charlie probably never even considered that Tonks would be offended by not being asked to go sooner; at least it’s my belief that many boys don’t think that way. Whereas Tonks reacts exactly like I would have myself. Fortunately, Tonks decides to go with them anyway, which, in my eyes, makes her a strong person. She would rather go along and get a chance to have some fun, than stay and mope because it wasn’t on her conditions. And, *cough*, the conclusion of all this babbling is that I think you write Tonks perfectly, Nan dear.
“Who put you in charge?” asked Charlie. Tonks blinked at the unusual tone of his voice.
This is very interesting, since I mentioned the almost-constantly-happy Charlie in my last review. So perhaps he has a jolly disposition and is generally optimistic about things, but no believable character is happy all the time. You so efficiently remind us that although there are more Weasley children, Charlie is still a little brother. I thought I could hear an echo of Ron here, and you made me realise that having Bill for a big brother must put some pressure on Charlie too, if not as much as having five older brothers puts on Ron. Lovely.
“Myself,” answered Bill lightly. “But I assure you, I am a benevolent dictator.”
Hee. Nothing interesting to say here, really. I just love how you write Bill, and I felt that it was very important to tell you this. *wink*
I should probably mention something about the plot too; you know, with the mysterious ring and all. But… even though Tonks continues with her investigations, it’s all very subtle. (Or else I’m just not very good at picking up plot “clues”, but let’s not talk about that. >.> ) You’re weaving your story so very carefully, and it develops smoothly and flawlessly.
And then, to round off, there is of course the Tonks and Ninette scene. Oh, Nan, when will Tonks and Ninette discover the truth about each other? (That is of course not a question I expect you to answer, but just me worrying for your characters. Bad habit of mine, I know.) I want them to be friends so badly. To tell you the truth, I care much more about their prospective friendship than about what happens with the ring or about Ninette’s mysterious past.
Mesmerising, Nan. Mesmerising.
I glanced at this chapter the day after your birthday, when it was first validated, but it wasn’t until today that I finally sat down and read it. And it’s wonderful, but that really goes without saying.
I don’t know who I adore more – Charlie or Tonks. Well, that said, I am especially fond of Charlie, and have always been. I’m also so impressed by how you write him, because I always thought that you specialised in more “serious” characters, such as Ninette, Percy and Neville, and also on the more serious sides of characters like Tonks. But in this story, Charlie is so… happy, full of light and laughter, and you manage to write him just perfect as well. Bravo!
Hee. I love the purple slime scene. But I wanted to point this out:
Should I keep the slime in the hair as well?
I think that you really mean, ‘in my hair’?
Professor Snith is absolutely brilliant! I don’t know what else to say; she’s just a fantastic character. Her behaviour, her dialogue, how the students see her – I’m just amazed that you’ve managed to create someone like her in just a few paragraphs. The only negative thing I must mention is that I find it a little unlikely that there would have been a different Herbology professor when these students went to Hogwarts, than when Harry & Co go there. I know there are a fair few years between Charlie, Tonks and Ninette’s first hear and Harry’s first year, but Sprout is not just Herbology professor but also Hufflepuff Head of House, and I’m guessing that she would have been at Hogwarts for quite some time before she was made HoH. Anyway, that was just a note. I wouldn’t want you to trade Snith for Sprout for anything, because she’s just excellent.
And Ninette! Nan, you make me ache for her. With this:
She wondered what it would be like to be able to cover someone with purple slime and then to laugh about it.
She knew even less about having friends than she did about making them.
It just breaks my heart. In my head, what Ninette’s grandmother has put her through is far worse than what the Dursleys ever did to Harry. At least Harry was able to start enjoying his life once he arrived at Hogwarts – he was only trapped within Dursley’s house and by their power, but poor Ninette is trapped within herself. I can’t even begin to explain how sorry I feel for her. And, of course, when you have made me ache from those lines, you give me this:
The warmth of the touch seemed to spread through Ninette’s body — she could not remember the last time someone had touched her on purpose, apart from dancing. It gave her a sudden surge of strength, and she looked into Professor Snith’s dark eyes and asked, “Please, will you tell me about my father?”
And, I swear to Helga, I started crying. I can’t even really say why, but I think it’s got something to do with how Ninette reacts to normal kindness and care. I think my tears were both sad, because Ninette is so starved of human contact and affection, and happy, because of what just a moment of such contact awakens in her. It’s like a promise of the closeness I’m desperately hoping Ninette will know someday.
Wonderful, Nan. I must now rush to read the next chapter. =)
Well, I can't say I'm proud of Tonks' behaviour towards poor Ninette, but I do understand it.
Thank you for updating so fast - and please keep it up!
- Smile At The Sun
I’m glad you updated! I have to admit that it took me a while to get into this story, but I do enjoy it very much.
Your opening incident is very…Tonksian. To take a very simple task, such as puncturing a fruit, and explode it? Hee. Charlie’s remark:
“You should go for pink, though — purple makes you look peaky.”
I was fascinated by how suddenly and how smoothly the story went from purple goo to Nanette’s loneliness to her family history.
Tonks started out envying Nanette’s beauty, but it’s now Nanette who envies Tonks’ outgoing, happy nature. As she herself says,
That was the problem, she thought rather bitterly. She did not know how to do anything besides dance.
Poor girl’s been squished into a mold so her bitter aunt can live vicariously through her. What terrible thing to do to a child. This quote really captured it for me:
…white hands against green pod, going sedately about their business as if nothing in the world was wrong. They could have belonged to anyone. They might have been the hands of a doll.
And then you continue to refer to her doll’s hands. It’s a perfect touch – it emphasizes Nanette’s separation from the happy life that her classmates have. An unhappy life is only half living, and she’s feeling the pain of that now.
You switch so effortlessly from voice to voice. We start with Tonks and then slide into Nanette’s voice so well that I didn’t quite realize it had changed until a couple paragraphs in! The transition from Nanette staring at Charlie to Nanette’s inner voice was excellent.
This chapter does the most to advance Nanette’s journey, but you manage to keep the main plot going by sticking Rosier in. She comes in, helps solidify Professor Snith’s character, shows her own irritating sense of superiority, and leaves Tonks arguing about tunnels. Amazing!
I love your Professor Snith. Her name fits her personality perfectly, poor nervous thing. I like how in the end, Nanette sees beyond her twitchiness to the kindness inside. I had forgotten how little we know (well, how little your readers know) about Nanette’s family. I’m so glad she’ll get to find out soon!
And it’s lovely to see Nanette get out of her shell, if only a little. Any friend, even if it’s a teacher, will be good for her.
I’m curious to see the friendship that I’m sure is going to develop between Tonks and Nanette. I can see how they’re learning a little bit about each other and I’m eager to see it come to fruition!
Wonderful chapter – I’ll be back for the rest!
YES! THANK YOU! An UPDATE!
Ahem. Now that I've gotten that out of my system...
Interesting chapter. I was hoping for Tonks and Ninette to interact a bit more, but it's obviously not time yet.
I never did think abotu Ninette's father, and all this information can't help but make me dislike him. A practical comment; his name is very similar to Madame Dubois - I misread it the first time and wondered why we were talking about her.
My only other comment is to repeat how much I like Ninette as a character; she's tangible with her painful shyness and lack of contact. She's very real - as is Tonks.
And by the way, it doesn't matter to me when you update; this story is worth waiting for.
*sigh* Wonderful chapter! I'm so glad Ninette spoke to someone. I think Professor Snith will do her a lot of good. (Don't mind me :P, I am forever congratulating and admonishing and screaming at fictional characters.) Like someone else said in a previous chapter, your work surpasses the level of many published books.
One of the things I most admire about your writing is the way that the mood changes with the POV. Ninette's world feels, honestly, like a sad dance, and Tonks' is warm, funny, and clumsy. Amazing job.
Thanks, I have been waiting. I love it. Please post often... I can hardly wait for more.
I love it. Good Luck, and keep them coming.
Author's Response: I'm sorry to have kept you waiting for so long - thanks for sticking with me, and reviewing!
Hello, Nan dearest. Given that I recently spent five hours discussing this chapter with you (and by discussing, I mean nitpicking it to death), I think I’m going to dispense with nitpicking altogether. Shocking, I know. But the idea of doing it yet again … I don’t think I could. I’m also not going to give an “Oh, you finally posted this” review, which may be nice, as I expect you’ll be getting several of those.
So how can I justify reviewing you at all, you might wonder, besides the simple truth that reviewing is loving? Well, I may have gone back and forth with you about various points for an age the other night, but I’ve said very little about what makes this chapter so excellent. So that’s what I’m going to tell you now.
First of all, I think the point of view works really well. The first section seems to be from Tonks’s perspective, but we eventually realize that we haven’t actually been inside her head at all, and that we’ve been seeing everything from Ninette’s point of view. Lovely, really.
I honestly love both of your protagonists (well, and all of your characters), but Ninette is the one I relate to more. Partly it’s her dance. Partly it’s her drive for perfection. And partly it’s her insurmountable loneliness. I identify with all three. How often in those early years of school (before high school, to be honest) did I sit and watch the other kids, and wonder what it would be like they talked to me for anything other than help with their homework? How often (even now) do I have bitter and defeated thoughts? How often do I feel mechanical? How many times as a child did I imagine I was a doll?
And yet, much as I relate to Ninette, I know that she’s far more like you than like me. A very much fictionalized you, yes, with a totally different history. But in many essentials, she has so much in common with you. Including her inability (which is, I admit, even greater than yours) to appreciate her own beauty and grace. However, I digress. Ninette is so real, so pained, so internal… Watching it, she wondered if any of the laughing students at the other table would ever be willing to be friends –– and even if they were, if she would know how to be friends back. She knew even less about having friends than she did about making them. It’s the thoughts like these that make my heart cry.
It is very easy, I think, for a dancer to start feeling that life is mechanical. Because on the days when your soul is heavy and the music no more than beat and background, all the repetitions become very mechanical. It’s hard to make tendu and rond de jambe meaningful, especially with someone like Aunt Edris breathing down your back and demanding all the time. Very easily you slip into a familiar sequence of movement and mental commands: squeeze the backs of your thighs, heel forward, make sure your ribs are closed as you go ‘round to the back. Squeeze the backs of your thighs, heel forward, make sure your ribs are closed as you go ‘round to the back. Ninette approaches her lessons like a ballet barre, doesn’t she?
I went back and reread some earlier chapters today, and I was amazed by how visibly your writing has improved, mostly because I had thought it was excellent to begin with. It’s not that the early chapters are worse than I remembered –– they’re still excellent –– so much as that your style and flow have really matured. Sentence structure, word order, and that sort of thing. It’s really neat to read and see the differences.
I must say I love the plot development in this chapter. It’s put together perfectly, like a Swiss watch. I shan’t say anything beyond that, because I don’t want to give anything away (and reading your review page has taught me that at least a few authors read what I have to say –– poor them with this one and its rambling). It’s all just… wonderfully done. I may be capable (and that’s debatable) of beta-ing your story, but I would never, never, never be able to write it. *tuggles Nan quite hard*
P.S. Happy birthday!!!
Author's Response: The "trick POV"was a random idea that I had as I sat down to write the chapter; I needed a way to open it, and I thought "why not have Ninette watching Tonks?" It surprised me by becoming such a long scene in its own right, but I was quite happy with it. I love to hear your response about Ninette, because as much as I sympathize with her, I am not a dancer - I'm always glad to hear that it resonates with you, who are. And yes, I'm always amazed when I look back at early chapters, at how much my writing has changed. (Also to remember that they were unbeta-ed. ;))*hugs* Thank you!
c'mon i finally found a good story and you stop thanks alot
Author's Response: I haven't stopped, though I'm afraid it's been a very long time since I updated. The next chapter is at beta now, and will be up as soon as possible.
I will not endevor to submit a long review, I'll leave that for those who are more gifted with words than I, but perhaps I might be humble enough to ask you to submit the next chapter...soon?
Author's Response: It's at beta now, and will be up as soon as possible.
WOW!!! this has been better than expected! I am eager to read the folowing chapters! Keep it up!!!
Author's Response: Thank you!
UGGH!!! *runs after you swinging sharp/heavy object* I HATE YOU! You can't just write an absolutly terrific story like that that and leave us all hanging! Your point of view changes are well done and your characters well developed...SO PLEASE RELASE FROM OUR AGONY AND UPDATE, YOU MEANIE! *swats you over the head with mace* the plot line so far is well decorated yet remains strong and concise, always a challange for the author...it will really interesting to see how you play this out, you have the Ninette (whom I absolutly LUV, she's beautifully written) and Tonks friendship weaving delacatly around the mystery/suspense of the founders ring...ever sonsider doning a Dumbledore fic? me thinks you'd be great at it!
~The Tainted One
Author's Response: Er...*is a little frightened* Sorry for the lack of an update, but the next chapter is at beta now and will come soon.
This is wonderful. I wish more people would write stories about Tonks's school years, but more importantly, I'm glad you did!
Author's Response: Tonks is a really fun character to write - I'm surprised more people don't take advantage of the mystery of her early life! Thanks.
I am really enjoying this story, particularly the contrast between Tonks and Ninette; loud versus quiet, grace versus clumsiness, importance of the face versus importance of the body. I'm dreadfully curious as to what their interactions will be like and am eagerly awaiting the next chapter.
Congratulations on such a good story.
Author's Response: The contrast between Ninette and Tonks is at this point the key to the story - I'm glad you picked up on it. Sorry for taking so long to update, but the next chapter is on its way. Thanks for the review!
Wow! It feels like they're in two different worlds (Ninette and Tonks). I have to keep reminding myself that it's the same story! :-) I'm wondering how it all ties together.
Author's Response: In many ways they are in two different worlds, but I promise, it ties together soon.
oh, I'm so sad...poor Ninette!
Author's Response: Lovely to know I've ellicited emotion - thanks!
I'm sorry I haven't been writing long reviews but the stupid computer logs me out when I stay on this page too long, so I'm sad for both of them, and I want to see more of Ninette's POV to show she isn't evil. Ok, now I'll only review if I have something to say, but ur awesome
Author's Response: Don't feel obligated to write long reviews; they're nice, but so is a short note. I greatly appreciate the fact that you've taken the time to hit the button and type out any sort of response at all, so thank you!
I love the sorting hat's song. Watching Ninette from Tonks' point of view is so sad! Awesome job.
Author's Response: Rewriting the Sorting Hat's song is something that has been on my list for a long time, but I have yet to get around to it - in the meantime, I'm glad you think it's passable. Thanks!
Wow! This is really amazing, I can already see why it won the QQ awards. Congratulations!
Author's Response: Thank you! I'm glad you're enjoying it.
I'm so glad that you've updated! *falls off of chair in suprise* Thank you! Sorry it took awhile for me to review; school is running me into the ground.
So onto the review...
I'm loving the backstory that we were given in this chapter. Hermione Dancr is right about it; as I was reading Bill's "story," the writing had such good flow that it seems as though you wrote this effortlessly. I'd imagine that you've done some research on Old Magic in mythology and such, but if you thought up the idea of magic moving in circles on your own, I commend you. The perfect explanation for the fight that Gryffindor and Slytherin had and Hufflepuff's refusal are also especially intriguing parts of the backstory. I just wasn't expecting it to be Hufflepuff that would refuse, but it definitely clicks. You can usually count on a Hufflepuff to do the right thing., it seems. :) Also, this is quite arbitrary, but is it just me, or do rings and temptation always seem to go hand in hand in fiction...?
Other aspects of your writing that I'm becoming very appreciative of are your skills in characterization and dialogue. This story actually requires more work with characterization methinks, because you're starting practically from scratch considering almost all the characters are either much younger versions of themselves or completely original. And they're all wonderful. *shakes head* I don't know how you do it. For me, at least, it is amazingly easy to relate to Tonks and Ninette. (Speaking of Ninette, I'd love to see more of her soon. She's such a lovely character. *hint hint*). I'd like to note as well that I have a feeling that Kevin is going to experience some growth if he continues to be somewhat of a main character. Maybe we will see his Gryffindor qualities triumph over his cautious skeptimism?
Going right along with characterization is the phenomenal dialogue. All of it sounds like something you would hear in an average day (albiet free of Harry Potter related terms), but each character is also very distinct. Keep up the good work! Or else. ;)
I notice that you appear to have had trouble keeping Bill and Dumbledore differentiated. I think that this end product works well in that respect despite your difficulties earlier. The only qualm I have is that I have never heard anyone tell such a polished story as Bill did without writing it down or rehearsing. Then again, Bill might be special. :) Don't worry about it, it's not truly important. I just wanted to have *something* constructive to say.
Something I just recalled and am to lazy to incorporate it into the review properly: perfect pacing. Alliteration, yah!
What it's taken me all this time to sayis that you have a great story and a great chapter. I'm looking forward to the next installment of what is turning out to be a high quality fic.
Author's Response: Eek! Sorry to make you fall off your chair. And no, you may not apologize for being slow to review - after all, I took a year to post the chapter! You're right about rings and tempation. I don't know why I ended up using a ring. In my original version (so long ago) Bill's story was the wizarding version of Wagner's ring cycle, with Alberich and Napoleon (don't ask, long story)...so the idea of temptation was definitely there. The Alberich thing was too confusing and got cut out, but the ring hung around for whatever reason. I'm surprised (and delighted) to see the number of people who are enjoying Kevin, who was originally a throw-away-character, and I definitely hope to develop him in the future. Thank you for the review, and for sticking around despite my hiatus, and I hope you continue to enjoy!